A workplace is more than just a place to go to earn money. It’s also where you spend most of your time outside of the home, so it should be a positive and uplifting environment. So, it’s not surprising that the workplace can affect your health. But there are many things you can do to create or maintain your workplace wellness.
What is workplace wellness?
Workplace wellness is a comprehensive initiative for people to be healthy and happy at work. In other words, workplace wellness is a practice of promoting well-being among all employees through deliberate initiatives to achieve true wellness in the workplace.
Many people are not happy at work. Some feel undervalued, others are struggling with difficult workloads, and some have experienced toxic leadership. An ideal workplace is a place where employees are healthy, happy and productive.
Employee wellness must be part of any company’s culture. If you’re a boss, manager, leader, or employee, you have to create an environment that fosters wellness in your workplace.
So, here are some ideas for workplace wellness you can try out today:
1. Encourage employees to take time off
Most employees think that taking a day or two off might be viewed as less dedicated or committed. Although everyone wants to show dedication at work, being overworked is not conducive to a healthy work-life balance.
As a manager, you should encourage employees to take a few vacation days every year and remind them that they don’t have to check work emails when they’re on leave.
Let them know that you appreciate their hard work and dedication, even if it means having to pick up the slack while they’re gone.
2. Offer a reward
You can create a cumulative wellness program and rewards those who make healthy choices over time. For example, an employee could receive a discount on their health insurance premium if they exercise three times a week.
Rewarding good habits is one of the most effective ways to improve workplace wellness and promoting better health. Offering incentives for good behavior is another way to promote positive change at work.
3. Encourage physical activity
Employees can have a walking break in the workplace. So, offer the option to work out during break time or even to exercise with colleagues. This can boost morale and act as social support for employees struggling with mental or physical illness.
It can also encourage people to get out of the office for daily “walks and talks” to build camaraderie. Employees have the option to sign up to local gyms or attend classes at their workplace.
4. Give people more autonomy
What it means to be a happy employee boils down to a simple thing, autonomy. We have an innate need to control our work and feel like we have some input into the decisions that affect us.
Granting employees autonomy to do their work may seem like a luxury, but it can make them feel more fulfilled on the job. Employees who have control over their work tend to feel satisfied with their job and trust their employers.
5. Improve the work environment
People spend a lot of time at work but typically don’t think about how their surroundings affect them until they face an uncomfortable situation like working in a dirty, crowded, or stuffy space.
Workplace wellness starts with a healthy office environment. The layout of the office can encourage collaboration or discourage it, so opting for open-concept space is one way to promote wellness.
6. Encourage socializing
Social interaction is beneficial for both mental and physical health. Social interaction can be as simple as a quick hello on the way to your desk, but it makes a difference in how people feel about their job.
It helps us connect with others and relieve stress, making socializing one of the best ways to improve workplace wellness.
So, set up a casual seating area for employees to take their breaks and meet each other. People should feel free to socialize freely without judgment.
7. Provide ergonomic furniture
Ergonomic furniture means furniture designed to accommodate the way that people work. It reduces strain on your body when you’re working at a desk, using a computer keyboard, writing reports, and just generally sitting still for long periods.
Sometimes the furniture that appears comfortable may still cause long-term damage if not well designed. Having an expert examine workplace setups will ensure everything is safe and efficient.
8. Encourage flexible working
Flexible arrangements mean employees can work from anywhere, not only in the traditional office space.
The main goal behind flexible work arrangements is to reduce stress and increase productivity by allowing workers more control over their time, schedule, and even place of work.
If your company isn’t open to flexible work arrangements, you might want to push for change because happier employees equal better performance and higher productivity in the long run.
Employees who don’t have to commute during rush hour or spend hours in traffic tend to be happier and healthier, as well as better performers.
9. Train everyone to recognize stress
Train your employees on how to recognize the signs of stress and anxiety in themselves and their colleagues, whether they’re at work or not, so they can get support if needed.
Being able to recognize the signs of stress and anxiety is a good way for people to look after themselves first, which then creates a better workplace atmosphere for everyone.
10. Provide access to healthy food
Healthier snacks such as fresh fruit do not have nearly the same impact on employees’ waistlines that less healthy snacks do, but they can boost morale and create positive associations among workers who value health and wellness.
Increase access to healthy food options, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, rather than junk food like potato chips and cookies (which can lead to sugar crashes), in the workplace.
11. Focus on employee’s strengths and passions
Strength means that an employee is good at what they do. An employee’s strengths and passions are what motivates them. More importantly, it is something employees enjoy doing so they will be more motivated to work harder.
You can spend a lot of time dealing with employees’ weaknesses. But it is more effective and easier, in the long run, to focus on their strengths.
Where an employee has gaps or areas for improvement, find out what drives them so you can use this knowledge to support them.
12. Give your staff access to a chat room
While this might not always be appropriate, it can be beneficial to have an online counseling service that employees can use if they are struggling with anything.
Many people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings more easily through chat rather than face-to-face contact, which is why an online counseling service could help employees feel safer about seeking help at work.
Giving employees access to a chat room means having another outlet for when issues are too hard to cope with because everyone has bad days.
13. Hold regular meetings
It’s beneficial for managers to hold regular meetings with their employees and check how employees feel about work.
Having an informal chat about anything that might be bothering someone can help avoid serious problems down the line. You can also identify signs of stress before they escalate.
14. Promote group activities
Offering employees, the opportunity to meet with their teammates for social activities outside of work can be a great way to break down barriers and promote communication within the workplace.
People often find that they are more productive and work better with other people around them. So, promote group activities outside of the workplace where employees can enjoy spending time with each other.
It lets people know that you value them as people, not just for their job performance but also for who they are as a person.
15. Provide private spaces
Offering private, quiet spaces throughout the office is beneficial for those who prefer privacy when doing their work. Encouraging employees to step out of the office, even if it’s just for ten minutes, provides them with a much-needed break.
It also allows them to collect themselves and return refreshed and ready to focus on whatever they need to accomplish.
Private areas may include rooms, couches tucked away in quiet corners, or outdoor spaces well-equipped with comfortable seating options such as benches and swings.
16. Improve lighting and air circulation
Think about the lighting in your office. If there is a window, keep the curtains open until sundown if possible.
Lighting, in particular, affects energy levels, so choosing fixtures with higher color temperatures (which appear whiter rather than yellowish) may help give workers an extra boost throughout the day.
Also, consider improving air circulation with ceiling fans or even an air purifier. Installing ventilation can reduce airborne contaminants and increase air quality, which will also help optimize worker performance.
17. Streamline communication
Streamlining communication is making it clear how to get help. Having a streamlined communication system is key to getting the word out about where to go for support.
Managers need to know the signs that someone needs help and the type of help. If everyone knows whom they should speak to when they have a concern or question reaching out at work, that will be a big step toward creating a healthier workplace.
Read also: 17 Signs of Toxic Work Environment
18. Protect privacy
Protecting privacy is essential when it comes to promoting healthier psychological habits in the workplace.
For employees to feel comfortable speaking about their well-being with others, they need to trust you and each other with sensitive information. In other words, they need to be sure that their concerns remain confidential.
19. Acknowledge the pressure people face
Sometimes, the pressure to succeed is so high that employees feel like they can’t take a break. Some people want to prove their worthiness by constantly overworking.
So, a manager should be aware of this and acknowledge the different pressures people face at work, both physically and mentally. It means considering appropriate breaks during work but, it also means listening to employees who feel.
20. Allow self-care
Create a culture that supports self-care without disadvantaging any team members or putting them under pressure.
It could be anything from allowing staff members some flexibility over when they start or finish work, providing pleasant amenities such as a pool table or ping-pong table.
No matter how small the gesture, employees will feel supported and that you care about them.
Managers can create a positive work culture by being proactive and going the extra mile to address negative behaviors before they have a chance to escalate.
Changing the workplace environment and establishing a culture of wellness is not an overnight task and requires time and effort.
With perseverance, commitment and dedication, you can take steps to create a positive work culture where employees feel valued, happy, and content at work.
What are your thoughts on employee wellness? What would you like to add? Comment below